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Sana-di-ge: This Fine Dining eatery lets Delhiite gets a taste of West Coast Cuisine

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Western Cuisine (representative image), Pixabay
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– by Karishma Kalita

New Delhi, May 24, 2017: Delhi is a melting pot of people from across the country but only in recent years have its residents become more experimental when it comes to food.

Today there are eateries that serve food from all the four corners of India and Sana-di-ge is joining the race to serve authentic and exquisite food from the West Coast.

Located in the upscale Malcha Marg market in the city’s diplomatic encalve, this fine dining eatery opened a year ago. It has two other outlets, in Bengaluru and Mangalore. It has 130 seats sprawled across two floors and an al fresco seating. The gold, brown and off-white interiors give it a very elegant yet traditional feel.

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The term Sana-di-ge in Tulu (one of five major Dravidian languages) refers to a brass lamp lit on auspicious occasions across the coastal belt of Karnataka. The restaurant has one such lamp at the entrance decorated with flowers.

Sana-di-ge boasts of serving fresh seafood flown in from Mangalore daily. Their spice blends and cocktail syrups are all made in-house.

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The restaurant had already set a fixed menu for me complete with soup, appetisers, main course and dessert.

However, to start this coastal sojourn, they served their complementary rice papad with six different chutneys of which the tomato and coconut stood out. The brass plates also had a banana leaf on it for a more authentic feel.

The drumstick soup could be given a miss: It tastes like something in between a dal and sambar.

There were six appetisers — anjal (king fish) tawa fry, chicken ghee roast, prawn butter pepper garlic, mamsa (mutton) pepper fry, mushroon pepper fry and babycorn butter pepper garlic.

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The king fish, marinated with spices, was fried to perfection. Soft on the inside and crisp on the outside. It looked very spicy but the chilli content was quite low. When ordering this, make sure you share it since the portion is too big for one person.

The prawns were a little heavy for an appetiser but delicious nonetheless. Creamy and buttery, they felt fresh. In the vegetarian version of this dish, babycorn replaces the prawn. The chicken ghee roast was a little high on spice while the mutton was succulent and juicy.

Just a little word of advice, the appetisers here are all big portioned; so choose wisely before a main course.

Like the appetisers, there were six main course items: kori (chicken) kundapuri, Goan fish curry, Manglorean mutton curry, chemmeen ulariyathu (prawns in malabar-style curry), gola kadi and vegetable stew; accompanied by neer dosa and uttapam.

Out of the six, the three dishes that really stood out were the kori kundapuri, Goan fish curry and the vegetable stew.

The first is a speciality from the coastal town of Kundapur in Karnataka. It is a rich curry of coconut and homemade spices with succulent pieces of chicken. It goes perfectly with uttapam or rice. Mildly spiced and very flavourful, the Goan fish curry transports you to the beaches of Goa, and the vegetable stew, which is an amalgamation of milk and vegetable, is comfort food at its best.

But the best surprise came in the form of a green coconut. When I opened the lid there was a bowl of eleneer payasam which is dessert made of coconut cream and tender coconut pulp. The perfect way to end this coastal foodie trail.

Sana-di-ge also serves alcohol. I tasted four of their in-house special cocktails: coconut and pineapple margarita, raspberry and lemon spritzer, watermelon bramble and passionera.

FAQs:

Where: 22/48, Commercial Centre, Malcha Marg, Chanakyapuri, New Delhi

Timings: 12 noon. to 11.30 p.m.

Price for two: Rs 2,500 (approx, with alcohol)

(IANS)

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Dilli 6: Culinary legacy continues against all odds

Originality, legacy, a loyal customer base and word-of-mouth via social media are taking their businesses forward in times of rising inflation and rapid influx of a variety of cuisines, say Purani Dilli's much-loved street food vendors

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The "Daulat ki Chaat", once served to the rich and the Royals, is a frothy and sublime sweet made from churned milk under the moon only during the winter season. Wikimedia Commons

Jamaluddin Siddique has been serving up delectable kheer cooked up with his great grandfather’s 150-year-old recipe. There’s also Khemchand Adesh Kumar, who has been selling the sweet winter delight “Daulat Ki Chaat” from his humble “khomcha” on the streets of old Delhi for the last 30 years.

Originality, legacy, a loyal customer base and word-of-mouth via social media are taking their businesses forward in times of rising inflation and rapid influx of a variety of cuisines, say Purani Dilli’s much-loved street food vendors.

“Options have increased tremendously, but true food lovers value the originality and legacy. We have been serving ‘Daulat ki Chaat’ for more than 30 years now. We have a base of loyal customers who travel from far off places just to savour this winter delicacy.

“A lot of kids and youngsters also come to us and tell us that they read about us online. So, considering the quality and legacy of our product, business sustenance is never an issue,” Kumar, who belongs to Moradabad, Uttar Pradesh, told IANS.

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The “Daulat ki Chaat”, once served to the rich and the Royals, is a frothy and sublime sweet made from churned milk under the moon only during the winter season.

“The soft, cottony foam is carefully collected overnight under the dew as it requires low temperature for the formation and is served along with khoya and saffron fresh in the morning,” explained Kumar, who gives a plate for Rs 40.

Besides, as Siddique said, it worked like a pull for people, who left with a promise to explore the culinary-rich bylanes of Chandni Chowk. Wikimedia Commons
Besides, as Siddique said, it worked like a pull for people, who left with a promise to explore the culinary-rich bylanes of Chandni Chowk. Wikimedia Commons

When he is not selling his seasonal delight in peak business months from November to January, Kumar makes money with a Golgappe and Chaat stall in Burari here.

“Inflation remains a key challenge, but our customer base has always seen a positive trend.

This has helped us cope with price rise,” he said, adding how foreigners find it intriguing and fancy to know about the six-hour process behind the making of “Daulat Ki Chaat”.

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For Siddique, the pride in his Bade Miya Ki Kheer business comes from his belief, “We are not just serving kheer, we are serving our legacy of 150 years”.

“Richness of our ingredients and authenticity in the taste, a method of preparation and presentation keep us strong in business. We are moving ahead with time and using several strategies to sell our product and combat inflation.

“There are a lot of restaurants in Delhi which buy our kheer every day from the Lal Quan shop, plate it differently, and serve to their young customers.

Jamaluddin Siddique has been serving up delectable kheer cooked up with his great grandfather's 150-year-old recipe. Wikimedia Commons
Jamaluddin Siddique has been serving up delectable kheer cooked up with his great grandfather’s 150-year-old recipe. Wikimedia Commons

“This helps us in making good profits,” said Siddique, whose outlet satiates the kheer-craving of two people within Rs 250.

The kheer, he says, is made by using full-fat milk, slow-cooked on a charcoal fire for almost eight hours, with rice and pure ghee. The result is a thick, creamy pudding, full of smoky aroma and a rich golden colour, and sold in dry leaf bowls.

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“A lot of people ask us what is that one secret ingredient that makes our recipe cult and we feel it’s “Allah’s blessing” that does the magic every time.”

There’s also Ram Babu Kushwaha, whose winner at his forefather’s eatery Hira Lal Chaat Corner is the “Kulle Chaat ” — scooped out potatoes and other fruits and vegetables filled with delicious stuffing, a recipe he claims to have discovered out of an experiment.

“Our clientele is getting diversified as a lot of young people keep coming to us when they read about us on social media sites. They come to our shop, make videos and click pictures of our ‘kuliya chaat’ which helps in putting a word out,” said Khushwaha.

These vendors were among around 20 old Delhi “chaat-walas” who participated in DLF Mall of India’s “Chaat Festival” in Noida last month.

“We want to introduce our legacy to the modern generation. We feel that is how it will grow. Instead of thinking that mall culture is a threat to our business, why not use them as a platform to reach out to a wider audience?” he added.

Also Read: Being Vegan Good For Environment: Study

Besides, as Siddique said, it worked like a pull for people, who left with a promise to explore the culinary-rich bylanes of Chandni Chowk. (IANS)

(Radhika Bhirani can be contacted at radhika.b@ians.in)